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We arrive here, children of a common ancestor, Adam. As such, we have inherited his traits, physically and spiritually. Although our sin may be of a different sort than his, we sin no less than Adam. The proof of that is death. Adam opens the way for sin and death to pursue us and run rampant across the earth. But from the beginning, God has a plan to reverse the curse. At just the right moment in human history, Jesus arrives, a son of Adam and the Son of God. Through His faithful obedience to His Father, He challenges the twin powers of sin and death and defeats them. Sin no longer reigns unchecked. Death no longer has the last word.

How should we respond to all of this? Is it good to persist in a life of sin so that grace may multiply even more? Absolutely not! How can we die to a life where sin ruled over us and then invite sin back into our lives? Did someone forget to tell you that when we were initiated into Jesus the Anointed through baptism’s ceremonial washing,[a] we entered into His death? Therefore, we were buried with Him through this baptism into death so that just as God the Father, in all His glory, resurrected the Anointed One, we, too, might walk confidently out of the grave into a new life. To put it another way: if we have been united with Him to share in a death like His, don’t you understand that we will also share in His resurrection? We know this: whatever we used to be with our old sinful ways has been nailed to His cross. So our entire record of sin has been canceled, and we no longer have to bow down to sin’s power. A dead man, you see, cannot be bound by sin. But if we have died with the Anointed One, we believe that we shall also live together with Him. So we stand firm in the conviction that death holds no power over God’s Anointed, because He was resurrected from the dead never to face death again. 10 When He died, He died to whatever power sin had, once and for all, and now He lives completely to God. 11 So here is how to picture yourself now that you have been initiated into Jesus the Anointed: you are dead to sin’s power and influence, but you are alive to God’s rule.

12 Don’t invite that insufferable tyrant of sin back into your mortal body so you won’t become obedient to its destructive desires. 13 Don’t offer your bodily members to sin’s service as tools of wickedness; instead, offer your body to God as those who are alive from the dead, and devote the parts of your body to God as tools for justice and goodness in this world. 14 For sin is no longer a tyrant over you; indeed you are under grace and not the law.

Now sin and death no longer define us, but grace does: God’s favor has been given freely to us through His Son, Jesus, who liberates us from sin’s power.

15 So what do we do now? Throw ourselves into lives of sin because we are cloaked in grace and don’t have to answer to the law? Absolutely not! 16 Doesn’t it make sense that if you sign yourself over as a slave, you will have to obey your master? The question before you is, What will be your master? Will it be sin—which will lead to certain death—or obedience—which will lead to a right and reconciled life? 17 Thank God that your slavery to sin has ended and that in your new freedom you pledged your heartfelt obedience to that teaching which was passed on to you. 18 The beauty of your new situation is this: now that you are free from sin, you are free to serve a different master, God’s redeeming justice.

19 Forgive me for using casual language to compensate for your natural weakness of human understanding. I want to be perfectly clear. In the same way you gave your bodily members away as slaves to corrupt and lawless living and found yourselves deeper in your unruly lives, now devote your members as slaves to right and reconciled lives so you will find yourselves deeper in holy living. 20 In the days when you lived as slaves to sin, you had no obligation to do the right thing. In that regard, you were free. 21 But what do you have to show from your former lives besides shame? The outcome of that life is death, guaranteed. 22 But now that you have been emancipated from the death grip of sin and are God’s slave, you have a different sort of life, a growing holiness. The outcome of that life is eternal life. 23 The payoff for a life of sin is death, but God is offering us a free gift—eternal life through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King.

Footnotes

  1. 6:3 Literally, immersion, in a rite of initiation and purification

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